The hippo pathway member Yap plays a key role in influencing fate decisions in muscle satellite cells

Robert N. Judson, Annie M. Tremblay, Paul Knopp, Robert B. White, Roby Urcia, Cosimo De Bari, Peter S. Zammit, Fernando D. Camargo, Henning Wackerhage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

145 Scopus citations


Satellite cells are the resident stem cells of skeletal muscle. Mitotically quiescent in mature muscle, they can be activated to proliferate and generate myoblasts to supply further myonuclei to hypertrophying or regenerating muscle fibres, or self-renew to maintain the resident stem cell pool. Here, we identify the transcriptional co-factor Yap as a novel regulator of satellite cell fate decisions. Yap expression increases during satellite cell activation and Yap remains highly expressed until after the differentiation versus self-renewal decision is made. Constitutive expression of Yap maintains Pax7+ and MyoD+ satellite cells and satellite cell-derived myoblasts, promotes proliferation but prevents differentiation. In contrast, Yap knockdown reduces the proliferation of satellite cell-derived myoblasts by <40%. Consistent with the cellular phenotype, microarrays show that Yap increases expression of genes associated with Yap inhibition, the cell cycle, ribosome biogenesis and that it represses several genes associated with angiotensin signalling. We also identify known regulators of satellite cell function such as BMP4, CD34 and Myf6 (Mrf4) as genes whose expression is dependent on Yap activity. Finally, we confirm in myoblasts that Yap binds to Tead transcription factors and co-activates MCAT elements which are enriched in the proximal promoters of Yap-responsive genes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6009-6019
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Issue number24
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Hippo pathway
  • Satellite cells
  • Skeletal muscle
  • Yes-associated protein (Yap)


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